X-Men

Michael Kamen

 
" Despite its effectiveness, somewhat disappointing on CD "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

I always saw Michael Kamen as a composer that supported the movie with this exceptional and perfect fitting movie score. And I always saw Michael Kamen as a composer that saw his perfecting fitting movie score different once I heard it on disc. The various scores like Lethal Weapon (1 through 4), Die Hard (1 through 3) and others confirmed this, and in a way X-Men isn't the exception in the list.

The movie, a cult phenomenon of its time has stirred up a lot of interest, and even the non fans of the comic book (including me) enjoyed it quite easily. Plus, when you look at the contribution of Michael Kamen, you'll notice that he has inserted the original and comic book personality flawlessly.

You can not deny that the score amused you inside the movie's context. In fact, you'll even grow fond of it inside the movie's context. The problem is, once you take it away from the context, you start to notice that Kamen's music is experienced differently. Luckily a main theme in fantasy is always a strong safety point. X-Men has a main theme that is cool, effective (and in some ways similar to the theme of the series on TV).

On score it sadly doesn't appear that much. I mean apart from the small interpretations this one isn't getting the bombastic treatment. It is heard once magnificently (during the end credits) but don't think these end credits are discovered on the CD. Nope, a heroic film of heroic characters isn't presenting its heroic theme a lot. We do hear several leitmotifs, one especially for Mystique. You'll know when you will hear it.

The main X-Men theme gets its first careful version during "Ambush" and the Mystique theme starts "Magneto's Lair". "Cerebro" is one of the tracks that works so well inside the movie that it loses appeal due to the weird sound effects mixed in the back.

The better moments of both the X-Men theme ("The X-Jet") or the insanely amazing "Final Showdown" are the best action moments of the score. I didn't really adore "Magneto Stand Off" or "The Statue of Liberty", but they work in the movie. The best sentimental track is sure to be "Logan and Rogue", offering the most emotional moments of the score.

Of course I was disappointed that the theme didn't receive its final opportunity. I knew the End Credits were missing but I was still hoping for that short but great burst of the main theme at the end of the movie. Decca did perhaps its best with the musical choices, but on some levels they really dropped the ball.

It is cool we have leitmotifs for several characters and by god the score functions so good in the film. And by now you'll know that Michael Kamen had a certain style that takes several tries to get the fullest impact of it. Thereby X-Men is a score that grows on you, but not to the extent I hoped for. Perhaps we miss several tracks on the album, perhaps we miss the more straightforward approach of Robin Hood, perhaps we miss another superhero sound. X-Men is cool and effective, but still solid and somewhat disappointing if you hear what follows after it.

Tracklisting

1. Death Camp (3.01)
2. Ambush (3.23)
3. Mutant School (3.45)
4. Magneto's Lair (4.57)
5. Cerebro (2.08)
6. Train (2.34)
7. Magneto Stand Off (2.57)
8. The X-Jet (3.45)
9. Museum Fight (2.19)
10. The Statue of Liberty (2.35)
11. Final Showdown (2.27) Excellent track
12. Logan and Rogue (5.57)

Total Length: 40.29
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(total of 22 votes - average 3.25/5)

Released by

Decca Records 289 467 270-2 (regular release 2000)

Conducted by

Michael Kamen

Orchestrations by

Brad Warnaar, Dylan Maulucci, Robert Elhai & Michael Kamen